After my choir trip to Italy three years ago, I vowed to find more stylish walking shoes. Who wants to go abroad and feel frumpy? With an upcoming choir trip to England this summer, my quest has begun in earnest.
Since we celebrate inspired living with a little help from our friends, I have enlisted fMb‘s help: my sister-in-law has impeccable style and I trust her suggestions. If you are in need of the nearly oxymoronic stylish walking shoe for the warmer months, I hope you’ll find my scouting helpful.
So what makes a comfortable shoe stylish? Everyone has their own criteria, but this is what I use: shoes must
- have a slight heel (flats are not super-flattering. A slight heel makes the legs and garments more attractive
- possess a comfortable foot bed, either via cushioning or with a raised platform at the ball of the foot
- provide support either with a strap, ties or as a firm slip-on
- not have a thong-type impediment between the big toe and second toe of the shoe. That is the surest way to a miserable blister situation
- velcro closures are not desirable (they remind me of children’s or orthopaedic shoes), but if I had to give up on one requirement, this would be it. So many sandals have velcro closures that it’s hard to find a style without them
- and finally, have that certain je ne sais quoi.
Maybe I should just jump on the sneaker footwear trend and quit agonizing over this whole issue. I guess I just don’t feel hip enough to pull off the whole athleisure look.
My survey of options began the old-fashioned pedestrian way, going from store to store in Richmond, making stops at Richey & Co. Shoes, Monkee’s, Dillards, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Saxon Shoes and Nordstrom. If you prefer to shop online, many of these styles are available from Zappos.com, Amazon.com and 6pm.com.
Richey and Company
This shoe store specializes in shoes that are comfortable and stylish. I was hoping to find a pair of Dansko sandals like these that I have worn for a few seasons.Sadly my size and desired color wasn’t available, but I did try on a pair of Beautifeel shoes that were extraordinarily comfortable.
The Beautifeel brand has oodles of styles, some rather fashion-forward. If you are on your feet a lot, check them out.
The trusty Munros that supported me through Italy are still available, but as you can see
they are a bit nondescript. Serviceable, yes, and lightweight, but I want to kick my heels up a bit more.
Next I wandered into Monkee’s and was delighted to find numerous stylish choices there, including my favorite Jack Rogers
which aren’t an all-day walking shoe, but certainly make a walk to dinner and beyond very comfortable. Another style from Sofft
was try-on worthy and very cushy.
Dillard’s carries several comfort brands, but this Born turned my head.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks’ shoe department is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about a stylish walking shoe; Jimmy Choo did not make his name designing the equivalent of fancy yoga pants. However, Tory Burch does have one espadrille that could take you places.
I headed to Short Pump to scout Macy’s, Saxon Shoes and Nordstrom. Macy’s large shoe department had numerous choices, but the Clark’s platforms stood out from the rest in terms of quality, comfort and style.
Saxon is the one-size-fits-all shoe store in RVA with everything for kids, men and women, casual and formal. Lucky for me the new Clark’s models had just been put out on the floor.
Nordstrom was my last stop. Strangely, I found these Danskos appealing (they defied my criteria) for an all-day outing on foot. Given the comfortable and stiff footbed for which Dansko
is known, I can also bike in them.
Although that style is no longer available, similar are and I can attest to the comfort of the shoe.
As I mentioned, fMb has been my go-to for brand suggestions. I went to her impressive closet and she modeled shoes that have carried her across the globe. Perhaps her consistently favorite brand for comfort and style is Arche, readily available on Zappos.com.
Another favorite brand is Clark’s
She has a few other lovely foot soldiers in her stable.
Many thanks to fMb for her guidance, and to both aCa and fMb for their willingness to have their feet photographed, all in the name of helping the posse.
I am feeling more chic already with several outstanding choices to satisfy my need for comfortable yet stylish walking shoes.
Do you have any shoe brands or retailers you like? We’d love for you to share your shoe secrets with us. Whether you are touring Carytown or Rome, you’ll feel better if your feet are comfy and stylish.
May 6, 2016